2016 NRAO Charlottesville Summer Student Information

TIPLast Update: JimBraatz June 17, 2016

ALERT! Charlottesville Summer Student Calendar ALERT!

General Information

Most information presented here can be found at:

Who and Where are the CV Students?

There are 15 summer students at NRAO-CV this year, 4 Grad students, plus 7 undergrads at our Edgemont Road offices and 4 at the NRAO Technology Center. The NRAO-CV summer students are:

  • Lauren Bittle is a graduate student at the University of Virginia. Lauren is working with Remy Indebetouw on "Dense clumps in 30 Doradus"
  • Luis Mario Bres Castro is a Physics major at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Luis is working with Bill Shillue and Rick Fisher on "Cryogenic Analysis of Low-Noise Receiver Configurations"
  • Amethyst Maps is a Physics and Math major at Old Dominion University. Amethyst is working with Tim Bastian and Tony Beasley on "A Volume-limited Search for Radio Emission from Exoplanets"
  • Pallavi Patil is a graduate student at the University of Virginia. Pallavi is working with Mark Lacy and Kristina Nyland on "Spectral indices of faint radio sources"
  • Jacklyn Pezzato is an Astrophysics and Engineering major at Swarthmore College. Jacklyn is working with Eric Murphy on "The Herschel EDGE-on galaxy Survey (HEDGES)"
  • Antonio Porras is a Mathematics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Antonio is working with Aaron Evans on "Extreme Stellar Nurseries in Luminous Infrared Galaxy Mergers"
  • Kendal Sandridge is a Computer Engineering major at Columbia University. Kendal is working with Morgan McLeod on "ALMA Band 6 Cartridge Test System"
  • Ellianna Schwab is a Physics/Math major at the City College of New York. Ellianna is working with Scott Ransom on "Detecting and Characterizing New Pulsars"
  • Jeanine Shea is a Physics major at Bucknell University. Jeanine is working with Dana Balser on "The Southern HII Region Discovery Survey (SHRDS)"
  • Andrea Tellez is a Physics major at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Andrea is working with Chris Jacques and Jason Castro on "A Compact Photonic Local Oscillator"
  • Alison Towner is a graduate student at the University of Virginia. Alison is working with Crystal Brogan on "Using the NH3 Molecule as a Diagnostic Probe of Protocluster Formation"
  • Trey Wenger is a graduate student at the University of Virginia. Trey is working with Dana Balser on "Metallicity Structure in the Milky Way Disk"
  • Emily Wilson is an Astrophysics major at Franklin and Marshall College. Emily is working with Jim Braatz on "The Megamaser Cosmology Project"
  • Alia Wofford is a Biology/Physics major at Elizabeth City State University. Alia is working with Amanda Kepley on "Quantifying the Relationship between Dense Gas and Star Formation in a Nearby LIRG-like Galaxy"
  • Jonathan Zaldavar is a Physics major at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Jonathan is working with John Effland on "The ALMA Front-End Test and Measurement System"

Travel Reimbursement

You can find the necessary form to request your travel reimbursement in one of two ways:
  1. Get one from either Jessica Utley (Rm ER-351) or Mary Mayo (Rm NTC-211).
  2. Download the Travel Reimbursement Form directly.
There is a maximum reimbursement of $900 for travel and $300 for temporary accommodations while you locate local housing. Include receipts up to that amount. See Summer Student Travel and associated documents for further details. Fill out form and give to Jessica, Mary, or Lyndele. Note that if you have requested direct deposit of your stipend payments that your travel reimbursement will also be direct deposited.

Car Sign-Out

We have AUI and Government cars available for sign-out. Government cars are only available for observatory business (e.g., trips to Green Bank). AUI cars may be available for short-term sign-out for e.g. grocery runs. Cars reservations need to be arranged directly with Richard Bishop (receiving room, on the first floor of the Edgemont Road building). Do not abuse these privileges, or we will lose them. For daily transportation, UVa has an extensive, and free, bus system, and the Charlottesville Area Transit buses are only $0.75 each way, or $20 for a month pass. Note that none of the buses go out to the NTC, so it is advisable to have a car or a plan for sharing rides if you need to work there.

Summer Lecture Series

Lectures will be held at various dates and times throughout the summer. We will have a weekly science lecture series on Wednesday afternoons in Conference Room 230 of the Edgemont Road building. The first of these lectures, though, will be on May 31 (a Tuesday). The schedule will be posted and maintained on the Charlottesville Summer Student Calendar. You can add items to this schedule, just send an email to Lyndele. Past summer student groups have generally thanked the summer student lecturers with lots of questions. Feel free to request specific topics! Presentations can be found on the Summer Student Presentations wiki.


You will be set up with a computer, computer account, and NRAO username as soon as you arrive. To see how to set up to read email for your NRAO username, set up a webpage, print using NRAO printers, log in from home, etc., see the Gold Book when you have a password. For additional computing assistance, use the Help Desk.
ALERT!You will be enrolled in a Cyber Security program called "Securing The Human" shortly after your account is set up. This is hosted on vle.securingthehuman.org and is a set of short videos for you to watch. Also, there will be an in-person cyber security orientation after you arrive in Charlottesville; attendance is required.ALERT!

IDL Usage Policies

Since many summer students use IDL or GBTIDL, we would like to point out that there is a limited number of floating licenses for this package.See our IDL usage policies and best practices for information on IDL license usage.

Twiki Account Registration

Many scientists and engineers use wiki pages to communicate.If you would like to use this medium to post information about your summer project, you can register as a user by going to the UserRegistration self-serve topic.There is also a 20-minute TwentyMinuteTutorial available if you would like to learn how to use this communication medium.

How to Change Your Distribution List Email Address

Once you arrive at your designated NRAO site, you will be given an NRAO email address.You should change the address to which email distribution list messages are sent to this NRAO address.This is done as follows (where I use the cvss distribution list as an example):
  1. Go to the appropriate list information page. For example, http://listmgr.cv.nrao.edu/mailman/listinfo/cvss.
  2. Scroll down to the "subscribers" area of the page and enter your current subscription email address and password.
  3. Click on your address to visit your subscription options page.
  4. Change your email address (and any other information you desire) in the "changing your membership information" section.


Feel free to use the canteen facilities (fridge, microwave, etc) at the ER or NTC facilities. There are a few places to buy lunch within walking distance of ER, including the Observatory Hill Dining Hall and Crossroads Snack Bar.

There are also several semi-regular lunch activities which you may like to participate in:
  • Tuesday: We sometimes have informal brown-bag (i.e., BYOL) lunch talks, dubbed Tuna Lunch, in ER-230 by visiting or local astronomers.
  • Thursday: Various members of both NRAO and UVa astronomy have pizza lunch together at Anna's Pizzeria, off of Alderman road before Fontaine Avenue. See the map here. A group usually starts walking from NRAO-ER at about 11:50pm. We encourage you to join us. Greasy pizza or Italian subs are the menu, veggie options are available. It costs about $6-$7/person.

Other Weekly Activities

Green Bank Visit

We will make a 5 day trip to our Green Bank facility on 2016-06-06 for a Radio Summer School. Green Bank WV is ~2hr 40min drive west of Charlottesville. We will have lectures about radio astronomy, a few workshops, some observing time, and we will tour the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), the NRAO GB facilities and the Visitors Center, and the historic telescopes located on the Green Bank site. This will also be an opportunity for you to meet the Green Bank summer students.

2016 NRAO Green Bank Summer School Schedule

Presentations are in the google drive: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9mVY4LnSMlpWFhVZ3ZuQVNoMDg&usp=sharing

Visit from Green Bank Students:

We will host a visit from the Green Bank summer students July 14 and 15. We will have a mini-symposium where GB students and CV students briefly present their summer projects to each other. We'll also have a tour of the NTC. Schedule of activities can be found here.

Other Summer Activities

Give me suggestions and I'll list them here. Here are some activities that previous students have done (these must be arranged on your own, and must not involve NRAO vehicles!).
  • Visit Monticello
  • Trip to DC (2hrs northeast)
  • Rafting on the James River (30min south)
  • Trip to Kings Dominion/Water Country (70min east)
  • Trip to Williamsburg/Busch Gardens/Jamestown (3hrs east)
  • Visit the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton (1hr west)
  • Trip to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton (1hr west)
  • Hike Appalachian trail (8mo, GA to MA. Or parts of it 45min W)
  • Drive Blueridge Parkway and/or Skyland Drive to find lots of good hiking (beware motorhomes)
  • Visit many Civil War battle fields (Manassas, Bull Run, Appomattox, Brandy Station, Fredericksburg, Front Royal, Lynchburg, Spotsylvania Court House, Waynesboro, etc, etc).
  • Various events and festivals around the state
  • Trip to Baltimore (4hrs), Philadelphia (6hrs), or NYC (7.5hrs)

End of Summer Presentation (Oral and Written)

Near the end of your appointment, you will give a short (~15min) lunch talk to the scientific staff about your research, and will write up a short project summary. You will also produce a written report, which should be 4 pages minimum, outlining your summer research, and present this to Jim Braatz by the end of August. Prepare the report in PDF format. You must hand in your written report on time if you want any hope of getting financial support to attend the January AAS meeting (more info on that later).


Don't hesitate to ask Lyndele von Schill (lvonschi at nrao dot edu), Jim Braatz (jbraatz at nrao dot edu) or any NRAO staff member if you have questions.

Topic revision: r12 - 2017-05-26, JimBraatz
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